A LEADING religious teacher has been suspended by a mosque after he was arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Ashraf Sidat, 45, from Blackburn, has been suspended from Masjide Noorul Islam, Audley Range, pending an investigation.

At 9.50am on Thursday, police were called to Roedean Gardens in Flixton to a report of child grooming.

Officers attended and a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was taken into custody for questioning and bailed until February 9, 2018, pending further enquiries.

The arrest comes after Mr Sidat was stopped in the street by members of Justice Will Be Served, a self-styled vigilante group who passed information to police.

A statement released by Hassan E Karolia, trustee and chairman of Masjide Noorul Islam, said: “Regarding the recent incident involving Mr Ashraf Sidat we have suspended him from all duties at the Islamic Educational Society.

“I am working with my management team and the authorities who are conducting the investigation. I am also making arrangements for the overall management of the Madressa whilst the investigation is carried out.

“Please note as the investigation is now in progress I cannot give you any further information.

“We are working closely with the authorities. In the meantime, please be reassured that your child’s teachers will continue to provide the best possible education in a safe and happy environment.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference number 433 of 11/01/18 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.